15 Pickleball Terms Every Player Should Know

15 Pickleball Terms


Unlock the secrets of pickleball lingo! Explore the essential 15 pickleball terms every player should know. From dinking to kitchen violations, this guide decodes the language of the pickleball court.

Pickleball, a sport that combines the best of tennis, badminton, and ping pong, comes with its unique set of terminology. Whether you’re a novice or a seasoned player, understanding these 15 pickleball terms is crucial for effective communication on the court and enhancing your overall playing experience.

As you step onto the pickleball court, the language spoken is not just the bounce of the ball or the shuffle of feet; it’s a unique vocabulary that seasoned players use to strategize and communicate seamlessly. Let’s dive into the world of pickleball terms, breaking down the jargon and unlocking the keys to successful play.

Pickleball Terms Decoded:

1. Paddle Up:

Read more: A Comprehensive Overview of United States Pickleball Rule Amendments

Getting Ready for Action Paddle up is more than just a pre-game ritual; it’s a signal to your partner that you’re ready for the serve. It’s the equivalent of saying, “Let’s get this game started!”

2. Kitchen:

The No-Volley Zone The kitchen is not where you cook up points; it’s the no-volley zone near the net. Players must avoid volleying the ball while standing in this area, adding a strategic dimension to the game.

3. Dink:

Soft and Strategic Shots Dinking involves gently tapping the ball over the net, just clearing it. This low, controlled shot is essential for gaining control of the kitchen and setting up winning plays.

4. Lob:

Taking It to the Skies When you lob, you send the ball high into the air, aiming to clear your opponent and create an opportunity for a strategic repositioning or a surprise attack.

5. Poach:

Stealing the Show Poaching isn’t just for the kitchen; it’s a strategic move where one player intercepts a ball intended for their partner, catching opponents off guard and turning the tide in your favor.

6. Erne Shot:

Sideways MagicThe Erne shot involves hitting the ball on the side of the court, outside the sidelines. It’s a daring maneuver, and mastering it can give you a significant advantage during play.

7. Bangers:

Powerful and Aggressive Shots Bangers are players known for their aggressive and powerful shots. Mastering the art of bangers requires precision and the ability to dominate rallies with commanding strokes.

8. Fault:

Oops, It Happens A fault occurs when a player violates the rules, such as stepping into the kitchen during a volley. It’s a term that acknowledges a mistake, prompting players to refine their skills.

9. Side-Out:

Change of Serve A side-out occurs when the serving team loses the point, leading to a change in serve. It’s a pivotal moment that can shift the dynamics of the game.

10. Pickle:

Unexpected Twist In pickleball lingo, a pickle is a situation where both teams are at the verge of scoring, creating intense and unpredictable moments that can make or break a match.

11. 0-0-2:

Strategic Serving Position The serving team’s positioning at the beginning of a game, known as 0-0-2, involves the player in the right-hand court serving diagonally to the opponent’s right-hand court.

12. Dead Ball:

Pause in PlayA dead ball is a temporary pause in play, often due to an interruption or dispute. It’s a moment for players to regroup and resume the game after resolving the issue.

13. Attack:

Striking with IntentTo attack in pickleball is to play aggressively, aiming to overpower opponents and seize control of the game. It involves a combination of powerful shots and strategic positioning.

14. Kitchen Violation:

Stepping into Forbidden TerritoryA kitchen violation occurs when a player steps into the non-volley zone while hitting the ball. It’s a common infraction that can result in a fault.

15. Jigsaw Formation:

Strategic Court Coverage The jigsaw formation is a tactical approach to court positioning, ensuring players cover the court efficiently, leaving no gaps for opponents to exploit.


How can I avoid kitchen violations during play?

Maintain awareness of your position on the court, especially near the net. Practice precise footwork to minimize the risk of stepping into the kitchen during volleys.

What is the significance of the Erne shot?

The Erne shot adds a unique angle to your offensive arsenal. Mastering this shot can catch opponents off guard, providing you with a strategic advantage.

When should I use the lob shot in a game?

Lob shots are effective when your opponents are positioned near the net. Use lobs strategically to create opportunities for repositioning or surprising attacks.

What is the 0-0-2 serving position, and why is it important?

The 0-0-2 serving position sets the initial court alignment for the serving team. It ensures a strategic placement of players, setting the tone for the beginning of the game.

How do I recover from a fault during play?

Treat faults as learning opportunities. Analyze the cause of the fault, refine your technique, and use the experience to improve your overall gameplay.

Can a dead ball situation be contested by players?

Players can contest a dead ball situation if they believe there was an error in the decision. However, it’s crucial to maintain sportsmanship and follow established rules for dispute resolution.


Armed with these 15 pickleball terms, you’re not just a player; you’re a fluent speaker of the pickleball language. Understanding and incorporating these terms into your gameplay adds a layer of strategy and communication that can elevate your skills and enjoyment on the court. So, the next time you step onto the pickleball court, speak the language of a seasoned player, and let the games begin!

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